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Arnold Schwarzenegger on the first time meeting Shaquille O'Neal at Planet Hollywood: "He must have eaten like 10 meals"

Arnold Schwarzenegger will never forget the first time he met Shaquille O'Neal
Arnold Schwarzenegger will never forget the first time he met Shaquille O'Neal at Planet Hollywood

It was a moment to remember for Arnold when he first met Shaq

Arnold Schwarzenegger will never forget the first time when he met Shaquille O'Neal because he never saw someone eat so much as Shaq did that day. 

Arnold couldn't believe Shaq can it so much

It was back in 1993, while Shaquille O'Neal was just starting to make his name in the NBA, being a rookie for the Orlando Magic. In a game against the New York Knicks in a direct matchup against Patrick Ewing at MSG, sitting courtside was none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger, who at that time was one of the biggest Hollywood movie stars and a fan of the game. 

A sideline news reporter asked Arnold about Shaq, who was a unique physical specimen standing at 7'1" and at that time 300 pounds of muscle. Interestingly enough, Schwarzenegger said he met Shaq right before the game during lunch, and what surprised him the most was that he saw him eat one meal after another, with waitresses just bringing him more and more food.

What Arnold immediately noticed about Shaq during their initial conversation was that he was smart, and he immediately had a feeling he would do well in the NBA. Being a physical specimen is one thing, but when you have the intelligence to combine it with that size and strength, just like Shaq did, only the sky is the limit for anything you do. 

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"I think this is a whole new dimension; it seems to me. He came over today to Planet Hollywood, and he ate his lunch there. I'm telling you the waitresses went and kept bringing food, one meal after the other, and he must have eaten like 10 meals which is staggering the way this guy devoured it. He burns it off playing basketball, practicing, and all this; that is why he has such a low percentage of body fat, and he looks straight. He is really well proportioned, and the great thing about it all is that he is a wonderful guy and a very smart guy that has it together. I think he is really going to go far."

Arnold collaborated with Wilt

As we all know, Shaq became one of the most dominant NBA players of all time and a successful businessman living his life to the fullest. It seems Schwarzenger recognized a talented individual when he saw Shaq; however, he already had prior experience with NBA legends, so seeing Shaq wasn't a big surprise for him. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wilt Chamberlain, and Andre the Giant on the set of Conan The Destroyer

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wilt Chamberlain, and Andre the Giant on the set of Conan The Destroyer

Arnold collaborated with none other than Wilt Chamberlain for the Conan the Destroyer movie in which they both performed. That is when Arnold witnessed firsthand the unnatural strength Wilt possessed, and even to this day, Wilt is considered by many a more extraordinary athlete than Shaq. Unfortunately, Shaq never had the opportunity to collaborate with Schwarzenegger, even though he got into the movie business during his NBA career. 

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